Monday, August 6, 2007

Day Forty - Check It Out

Using A Library Card Instead of Buying New Books

It has been years (you know I mean a LOT of years if it's italicized AND underlined) since I've had a library card. I used to go a lot when I was a teenager and, of course, in college. Something happened, though, when I left the world of academia and joined the working forces. I forgot about the joy of the Dewey Decimal System and the feel of those protective plastic book covers. Last week, I rediscovered all the library system has to offer.

I packed the kids up and announced we would be hitting the library and getting a library card. My 4 year old son, Ethan, assumed that would be akin to a credit card, so he was happy to go. Daphne, 2 years old, however, is teething so she isn't really "happy" to do anything. I was feeling brave though, and hungry for something to read so we headed out.

I was pleased to find that my local library (about 2 miles down the road) has a very nice children's area, complete with legos, puppets, those abacus-looking toys, DVDs and, of course, books. We spent a good 45 minutes or so checking it all out and playing. Unfortunately, Daphne doesn't yet have a volume-control so I spent a lot of time uselessly "shushing" her. But other than that, it was great. The kids each got a library card and so did I. We also came home with five books to enjoy for the next two weeks.

But how does going to the library help the environment? Well, let me tell you. I checked our budget and it appears that we spend, on average, $75 per month on books and magazines, which I'm guesstimating to be four books and eight magazines per month. What's really bad is that we haven't even been shopping at the used book stores -- nearly all of the purchases are for brand new books and magazines. OK, so it's not like we're spending it on jet fuel or Styrofoam, but still, it's not the most eco-friendly way to read.

I don't think we'll give up new reading material cold turkey -- we'll still buy certain magazines and the occasional new book (hey, the library doesn't carry everything) but we'll definitely check the library out before we head for B&N. They make it so easy now. Our county has all of it's library "stock" online and searchable. You can even reserve a book online and request it be transferred to the library closest to your home! Neat stuff.

Savings:

I'm going to estimate that we will save two book purchases and four magazine purchases per month. Basically, cutting our current new book/magazine consumption in half. Good for the environment, good for the wallet!

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

I had a lot of fun with this activity and I got to introduce my kids to a whole new experience. We can't wait to go back!

1 comment:

Mary Elizabeth said...

This isn't as green a comment, it's more like a "save mommy's sanity" comment. For days/weeks/whatnot that you just Know those munchkins can't be out in public and hold it together: My library has an online system wherein I give my card number and a pin number, and I can call the books to my library for pickup. Not green because it involves someone else's gas money. Yes, this loses you the opportunity to peruse and find other fabulous finds..but sometimes it can be a life saver!